moving tale about a fisherwoman from North East Scotland. Amy Hardie has recently returned from filming in The Sudan. and her play. an alternative telling ofthe Flood story. is set in a drought-wracked town in the desert. See Feature. Jenny Eclair Fri 10 and Sat 11 July. 9.30pm. £3 (£1.50) plus 50p membership. See Cabaret.
Lib and Rene and Liz Lochhead Fri 17 and Sat 18July. 9.30pm. £3 (£1.50) plus 50p membership. See Cabaret.
For complete venue details please see Theatre Listings.
0 DRAMA CENTRE
Cabaret Climax Fri 10—Sun 12 July. 7.30pm. The new company Theatre Racoon host three evenings of cabaret with music and comedy from. amongst others. The Bluebirds and The Speckled Bird String Band.
Tony German and Sandy Evans Jazz Quintet Fri 10July. 8pm. £4 non-members: £3 members. Students. ()APs. Disabled. Under 21s £1 (members only). See Jazz. Victor and Barry Sun 12 July. 8pm. Prices as for Tony Gorman and Sandy Evans (see above). Alan Cummings and Forbes Masson as their wonderfully camp aliases. Victor and Barry. amateur dramatics extraordinaire in the highlights of their careers. An excellent show. Catch them quick before they play the Edinburgh Festival and become too mega-famous to get near.
Jenny Eclair Fri 10 and Sat 11 July. 9.30pm. £3 (£1.50) plus 50p membership. Described by Time Out as ‘increasingly ungenteel'. Jenny Eclair twists absurdity out of everyday situations and is one of London’s brightest young female comedians.
Lib and Rene and Liz Lochhead Fri 17 and Sat 18July. 9.30pm. £3 (£1.50) plus 50p membership. A welcome return to the Traverse for the Liz Lochhead (whose Tartuffe adaptation is on at the Lyceum) with her witty. wise monologues and poems. She is joined this time by an up-and-coming female double-act. Lib and Rene. whose wide-ranging comedy explores the difficult terrain ofbeing today's independent woman through a pair ofcharacters whose philosophies are constantly compromised by the search for a man. . .
Tron Theatre, Glasgow
This could almost have been the pilot
for a new situation comedy
programme. The squalid porters’ room
in a National Health Service hospi
the setting for a collection of characters
who would be the clearly defined ‘regulars’. There‘s an elderly port always on the scrounge, a philoso clown with unlikely ambitions, a
younger more appealing, reluctant
leader, and the Head Porter who 0 night has, for some reason, drunk
himself unconscious with half a bottle of Grouse. The job of covering up for
him is made more difficult by the
presence of an eageryoung student
who’s just starting his holiday job There is much to laugh at- in
particular, Robert Trotter’s devious portrayal of the old man with enough energy only for cadging cigarettes, who is given in Robert Patterson's play some witty excuses for allowing to look in on his drunk boss and laboriously steel his tags one by one. However, the
strength of the play is in how it develops the situation and charac
without them becoming comic clichés. What could have been pure farce
becomes instead an interesting
examination of what is and isn’t the
sensible, caring thing to do in an
awkward but very human situation. The play needs a little tightening and perhaps a stronger ending, but l hope it
won't be long before Annexe Thea Company’s production (directed b Dafydd Burne-Jones) is seen agai (Nigel Billen)
TARTUFFE Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh
You can do terrible things in the name
of Moliere adaptations. One of the
worst shows I have ever seen in my life was an adaptation of Le Bourgeois
Gentilhomme into Geordie: crude,
belaboured, losing all ofthe wit and
stagecraft that makes Moliere Mo Liz Lochhead’s Tartuffe, though
the complete opposite. She wittin relocates Moliere’s tale of a household duped into the power of a religious hypocrite in a Scottish setting, where it
sits quite happily, memories of th Elect giving full bite to the dark ed this, one of the darkest of Moliere
comedies. Lochhead’s adaptation enjoys and exploits the differences
(‘l’ll turn Catholic!’ threatens the
distraught daughter of the house as the ultimate blackmail), but pays respect to Moliere's sense of fantasy— not least with her wonderfully inventive Scots
Rhymes plunge from the sublimeto the ridiculous and half the pleasure of
the show is watching her pull off
audaciously wicked bits of verse with
dizzying ease .It seems a prudent, positive move on the
part of the Lyceum to offer a second chance to see this, one of their most
successful productions ever. Dangers lurk in revivals though
possibilty of being overly confide
overly anxious about recapturing
success is probably the main pitfall, and atthe beginning of the run there
was evidence of both here. Colin MacNeil’s airy spacious new set is less insisistent than the original and some of the main parts have been well
' re-cast. Robert Carr makes an endearineg stupid authoritarian paterfamilias as Orgon, the man duped by Tartuffe, and Garry Stewart is a delightfully bombastic, impetuous young lever.
A more difficult task though falls to Judy Sweeney, who has to recreate the maid, Dorine, played so well by Juliet Cadzow last year. Her performance is full of verve and energy— at the beginning of the run all she really needed to do was to believe it and relax a little. Andrew Dallmeyer’s Tartuffe, meanwhile, remains a masterpiece in slime, as he gropes his way unctuously around the stage, but he is dangerously at risk of overplaying and losing his subtle transformation from being funny "8 and sinisterto becoming really nasty. V There is plenty of potential, however, "' for Ian Wooldridge’s production to become both sinister and silly as it works itself in and so to offer audiences the opportunity to enjoy again at lull tilt one of the most imaginative Moliere translations they are likely to see. (Sarah Hemming).
NAE TRUST TAE THE CUSTOCKS
Theatre Workshop Company, Quakers’ Meeting House, Edinburgh. Run finished.
‘Don’t eat the meat it’s from Safeways we were warned by one small 18th-century citizen on arrival in the
e Quakers’ Meeting House Courtyard. ge to Anachronistic, perhaps, but veryfunny 's and delivered with a spontaneous wit characteristic of this production. ‘Nae Trust Tae The Custocks’ was the most ambitious of Theatre Workshop’s performance projects to date, co-ordinating all three youth theatre groups and three contrasting performance spaces (each one used with an appropriate technique), to tell the little-known story of the filth-century slave trade from Scottish pons.
During the famine of the 1740s, merchants, who doubled as judges, transported petty criminals and, eventually, children to work on their plantations in the Americas. In the Courtyard the audience were introduced to the story by the slave who returned, ‘lndian Peter’ Williamson while through a promenade performance the cast sklllully manipulated our attention round the
. The nt or
elements of the situation in the 1740s. Our sympathy gained, our judgement was asked for, as we were moved
I inside the Meeting House - a
surprisingly beautiful, atmospheric theatre space, inventiver used. Here the cast re-created historical trials for and against the merchants within the larger ‘trial of history’ for which we were the jury. Judgement pronounced, we were led outside again to take part in a celebratory dance.
Written by Simon Abbott and directed by Pete Clerke, the production made fine use of dance, music and individual strong performers (Donna MacKay made a memorable rabble-rouser), matching form, content and resources to uncover a lascinatino story and discover a delightful, eminently usable theatre space. (Sarah Hemming)
THIS IS MY COUNTRY
Russell Hunter arrived on stage in a corduroy dinner-jacket and an ebullient frame of mind, accompanied by Anna Price, and made a bold attempt to whip up enthusiasm in a small audience. Together they sing bawdy songs, tell risqua jokes and berate without much reverence the early history of Scotland. Mr Hunter overacts and grimaces wildly, even at one stage removes his trousers to don a kilt; while Ms Price smiles placidly and delivers her lines with sly irony.
The result is an entertaining if unchallenging survey of Scottishness in all its various manifestations: pride, presbyterian propriety and pessimism feature highly. 0n the subject of Nationalism, Mr Hunter becomes quite heated declaring ‘Scotland will never be dominated by the English', a statement which may or may not be borne out by the election results.
Despite some evidence of under-rehearsal and a slow start, this compilation by W. Gordon Smith of Burns, Scott, Stevenson, etc with his own material should be a success with Scots who enjoy a gentle questioning of their inheritance—one which ultimately affirms national pride — and with tourists keen to sample The Scottish Experience. (Andrew Burnett
The Oxygen House Company, Netherbow Theatre, Run finished.
If you fancy Iimbering up for the Fringe, you could do worse than visit some of the lunchtime shows being put on by this enterprising little company. For a few weeks they are mounting short sharp plays by some major playwrights that, because of their brevity, are rarely seen.
The first, Orange Souffle, was a two-hander by American writer, Saul Bellow, which, by simply focussing on one crucial afternoon in the long-term relationship between an ageing rich business man and his prostitute mistress, revealed acres about a
society hiding behind barriers, keeping the underdogs nicely out of sight. Janet Dye and John Mitchell performed the play with crisp humour, though the nasty harshness of the ending didn't really come off. (S.H.)
The List 10— 23 July 17